Why did I decide to be a puppy raiser for DBL? It’s complicated. Dogs have always been an important part of our family, but when my husband, George, and I lost our black Lab, Tess, in 2019, George was battling Parkinson’s and another dog seemed too much to handle.
Then came Covid, and in spring of 2020, George contracted it and passed away. I spent the rest of 2020 and the early months of 2021 isolated, trying to come to terms with his passing. After fifty years of marriage, it was hard for me to envision life without him. It was tempting to just give in to the sorrow and sit around all day, reading or watching TV, but I knew George wouldn’t want that and I worried about the example I’d be setting for my kids and grandkids.
I finally pulled myself together began to move on. I signed onto a service called Volunteer Match, which sent me lists of local volunteer opportunities, and as soon as I was fully vaccinated, I volunteered at a local charity where I could use my artistic talents to help people in need. It gave me new purpose, and I began to see a path forward. I threw myself into the work and began to think about getting a dog again. I was in my seventies, though, and I worried about another fourteen- or fifteen-year commitment. I decided it wasn’t a wise move, gave up on the idea, and settled into my new routine.
Out of curiosity, I continued to read the messages from Volunteer Match, and one evening, there was the call from Dogs for Better Lives for puppy raisers. I was immediately tempted but told myself that I shouldn’t rock the boat.
“Don’t do it. Don’t do it.” I told myself when I went to bed that night. And then, my first thought the next morning was, “Do it!”
Seven weeks later, an adorable little bundle of fur sat on my doorstep staring up at me with soulful brown eyes. It was love at first sight.
Finn was a joy from day one. He immediately accepted his crate, and by night three he was sleeping through the night. He was so smart, quickly mastering the tasks set for him by our trainer, Andrea Woodcock. He tolerated his vest right away. The Gentle Leader took a bit longer, but now, at 4 months, he walks several miles a day on a slack leash, ignoring distractions like bikers, other walkers, barking dogs, etc. I adore him and everyone who meets him is instantly charmed. He is so cute, sweet, and well behaved.
Letting go won’t be easy, I know, but he will make a great companion to someone who really needs him, and that is what I keep in mind. Sharing your home and heart with a furry little bundle of love, and making a difference in someone’s life, too? What’s not to love?
It’s Puppy Love Month! Find out more about becoming a Puppy Raiser and other ways to get involved with DBL here.